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Various venues, Glasgow & Edinburgh

Portugal is famed for its Port - everybody knows that. But aside from the instant recognition of the silhouetted Orson Welles advertising Sandeman’s scarlet nectar, what else do you know about Portugal? Did you know, for example, that this relatively small country produces internationally acclaimed animated films?

Now, why should it be that we know so little about a nation whose language is spoken by over 200m people around the globe - in Brazil, southern Africa, India, the far east - making it the sixth most popular on the planet? It might have something to do with the isolationist regime which left Portugal excluded from European affairs for many years before it was overthrown in 1974. At midnight on the 25 Apr that year a Portuguese radio station played a popular ballad, ‘Grandola, Vila Morena’, the signal for the military to occupy their barracks and begin the non-violent downfall of the dictatorship. That memorable event is known as the Carnation Revolution. Did you known that?

If you want to know more about Portuguese history and culture check out A Wee Bit of Portugal: The First Festival of Portuguese Culture in Scotland, which is being staged in Edinburgh and Glasgow throughout this month. Timed to celebrate the 30th anniversary of



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A foreign paradise arrives at Scotland’s shores

the end of the dictatorship and organised by the Caledonian Portuguese Association (based at the University of Edinburgh and formed in 1992 to mark Portugal’s first presidency of the European Union), A Wee Bit of Portugal comprises over 20 events, including puppet theatre and those aforementioned acclaimed animated films, feature films and documentaries, readings and music (if you've not listened to the home-grown sound, ‘fado’, do so), plus food and, of course, drink.

Access the website ( for full details of all the events. Highlights of A Wee Bit of Portugal include the award-winning film, Os Capitaes de Abril (Captains of April), which dramatises the Carnation Revolution and which was made by and stars the Portuguese princess of cinema Maria de Medeiros (she was the sweetie who rode off on a chopper with Bruce Willis in Pulp Fiction). Elsewhere in the film- strong programme is The Banished Consul, a documentary about Aristides de Sousa Mendes, the Portuguese consul-general to France in 1940, otherwise known as the Portuguese Oscar Schindler. The programmes of animation are also worth a look, and featured animator and one of the guests of honour will be Cannes Cartoon D’Or winner Jose Miguel Ribeiro.

So, between now and when you next nip off to the Algarve for a few rounds of golf, why not get a wee bit more clued up about that place where they make port? (Miles Fielder)

Towers. we think it's worth every penny. Maybe it's just that we're dirty

Randy fire starters

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Beltane Fire Festival, Calton l-lill, Fri 30 Apr, 9pm-1 am. £5 (£3).

The Beltane fire festival has caused no end of controversy and titillation in the past few years. And this year‘s no exception: booze bans, curfews and ticketing. There's no end to the speculation. But one thing remains faithful: this is the very juggernaut of the festival calendar, mixing debauchery. fun and naked flesh. This year's funding restraints have resulted in people having to pay for their tickets for the first time ever. but here at List

devils. but the photo to the left should be inspiration enough.

Please note though: ticket holders should enter by the steps on Waterloo Place or Royal Terrace. Any flammable liquids. wax torches or similar can and will be confiscated. And at 1am. revellers are invited to leave the hill. The party continues at Club Ego on Picardy Place. Advance tickets can be bought for $33 from the Hub. Call 0131 473 2000 or book online at or


As Easter bows out and the good weather rears its heads, we find the perfect outdoor attractions to afford you the maximum of fun

Edinburgh Zoo

Butterfly & Insect World The Butterfly and Insect World offers the chance to wonder through a tropical rainforest (whatever the weather) amid waterfalls and tropical plants surrounded by some of the worlds most spectacular butterflies. Other attractions include the opportunity to handle snakes. spiders and other mini beasts such as millipedes and hissing cockroaches. Dobbies Gardening World, Melville Nurseries, Lasswade, 0737 663 4932. 9.30am—5.30pm. £4.50 (£3.50).

Glasgow Botanic Gardens This 19th century garden and collection of glasshouses are home to an interesting and educational selection of plants, including cacti and orchids. It also holds special events including talks. workshops and demonstrations. 730 Great Western Road, 334 2422. Gardens open 7am—dusk. Kibb/e Palace & glasshouses 70am—4.45pm. Free.

Edinburgh Zoo Opened in 1912. Edinburgh Zoo is one of Europe's loveliest zoological gardens. only partly illustrated by its new amazing red ruffed lemur enclosure where you can walk about in the same space as the lemurs as if you are in the Madagascan rainforest. As part of its commitment to the conservation of endangered species. the zoo has two new Asiatic lionesses. of which there are thought to be as few as 350 left in the world. There are two new tiger cubs also an endangered species and with the largest penguin pool in the world. there is a lot to see. Corstorphine Road, 0737 374 037 7, 9am—6pm. £8. 50 (£5.50).